“What’s it like to be a real estate agent?” I wish I could say people have asked me that in my 7+ years in this field, but they haven’t. They have their own idea. I’m here to shed some light on some misconceptions and hopefully open some eyes – both the public’s and my colleagues.
The general stereotype for real estate agents is not that great – kinda pushy and that we “make too much money”. I’ve heard it put, “A glorified car salesman.”
Some of the time, the stereotype is spot on. Some agents focus a little too much on sales techniques they’ve learned and not enough on the people they are supposed to be helping. Some of the most successful agents drive nice cars, put up big billboards and annoy you with radio ad after radio ad.
I’m a different breed. I used to sell cars so I know what it’s like to have someone in your face trying to sell you something (many of my co-workers were that way). They would ask you just the right questions in order to get you to do what they wanted you to do.
I never did that in car sales (and I was still successful) and neither I, nor my team, do that now in home sales.
There is nothing wrong with having a nice car or advertising yourself. There is nothing wrong with being proud of the work you have done and the success you have achieved. There is something wrong when that is how you identify your worth.
Every once in a while, the real help a client needs is to be pushed – just a little – in the direction they really want to go but are afraid to. That’s a good agent knowing their client.
Real estate agents have state and federal laws governing their industry and Realtors have a code of ethics in addition to that. You’d think with all this oversight there would be no rotten apples. Unfortunately, there are. The more rules there are, the craftier a self-absorbed agent has to be to get around them. Because of this, it’s important for people to be able to identify deception.
Here are a few ways to spot something off:
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- “Guaranteed offer within 48 hours!”
- “If it doesn’t sell in 60 days, I’ll buy it!”
- If your agent wants you to sign a contract that isn’t a state form.
- If they have “exclusive” programs. (why wouldn’t it be offered to everyone? Is it legal?)
- If they tell you “I have a few buyers that would be interested in your home.”
You see, some agents are building a sales machine for the wrong reasons. Whether it’s to feed an ego or the love of a paycheck, some agents just want to churn out as many deals as possible. Success is a drug, it’s addicting. If they find a method that works, they’ll use it. They’ll do it whether or not it’s truly in the best interest of their client.
It’s A Career
Recent nationally syndicated news articles have suggested that Realtors are soon going to be a thing of the past. Listing reasons such as a movement to all electronic home purchases to agents costing too much, they made a convincing case to someone who has never thought about it before.
The truth is, there will always be a demand for experienced, thoughtful professionals. The kind of people who are attentive to a client’s feelings, understand what they want and need in a home, negotiate effectively and flawlessly navigate the piles of paperwork required to transfer the deed of a property, among other things.
Those that can’t do these things effectively don’t deserve to be in the industry. Unfortunately, that includes most of those quoted in the news articles I referred to.
This industry isn’t a scam. We don’t dangle a carrot and then sell your information to the highest bidder like national home search sites do. The hard work of a good agent can provide way more value to their client than their commission suggests. That’s all some of us are doing. Working harder for our paychecks, providing more services and protecting our clients even if it hurts our pocketbooks. It’s our duty. It’s the way it’s supposed to be.
It’s a service industry, not a sales one. The sooner this fact becomes the foundation for all Realtors, the easier it will be to fend off the monsters at our doors. Our number one purpose is to serve the public in their real estate endeavors. The paycheck is just a side effect. The public will never turn on someone who bent over backwards for them. The public will gladly pay for good, thorough representation in a process they aren’t well versed in. What they won’t do is allow a shady agent to take advantage of them twice.